Haile Gebre, Mordecofe
Haile grows coffee on land first owned by his grandfather and processes coffee for many surrounding farms at his two washing stations.
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Haile Gebre finished building a beautiful, huge, state of the art dry mill located in Addis Ababa. It encompasses multiple stories and includes the ability to handle both natural and washed processed coffee. They even added a cupping lab to maintain and improve their high quality.
Haile started his farm as a retirement project and is now producing some of the best Ethiopian coffees we’ve ever tried. In fact, he shaped the current coffee industry in Ethiopia, bringing unions and co-op structure to his country after studying in Russia.
He’s a totally singular guy, and absolutely loves fine old Scotch. Also, if you visit him, he’ll slaughter a bull in your honor and may even give you the heart.
Haile is particular about everything he does, and the location of his estate farm is no exception. He picked a large swath of land with prime soil and growing conditions. As the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia has incredible biodiversity, and Haile is constantly seeking out new strains to bring us interesting beans.
Haile oversees every step of the process and takes wonderful care of his workers. On the night before processing the coffee cherry, they have an enormous dance party to get pumped up. Haile is also working directly with nearby farmers to help them grow ever-higher quality coffee. The attention to detail leads to an incredibly clean and dynamic cup, with floral tea notes and a brown sugar sweetness.
In 2001, Haile Gebre left his government post as director of all cooperative business in Ethiopia. He returned to his home to cultivate coffee on his grandfather’s land in the highland old growth forests of Southern Ethiopia. Haile owns and operates two farms and a washing station under the Mordecofe umbrella, ‘Mora Mora River Valley Development Coffee’, in the Guji Province about 200 miles from the Kenyan border. This organization works with medium sized coffee farmers in the immediate area to produce high quality, organic coffee. They produce approximately 344 tons of coffee annually on 640 hectares of land.
By providing a 100 percent organic certified product, Mordecofe supports a better life for the community of farmers and their families while promoting environmental stewardship. Farmers are provided new seedlings through nursery sites and extensive education on harvesting, cherry selection and organic agricultural practices. Twelve permanent staff members offer practical experience in coffee production, processing, and harvesting. In addition, 200 temporary workers are hired during the harvest. Some subsidiary projects include beekeeping to produce honey and eco-tourism opportunities for travelers.
We’re proud to continue offering Direct Trade Mordecofe. Mordecofe is a model of a private sector development in Ethiopia. Through its Direct Trade relationships, they secure fair and livable wages for their employees and the family of farmers.
At Mordecofe, the coffee cherry is processed with a 6-disc depulper then fermented in tanks before being washed. Haile Gebre’s process includes a six hour washing technique that leaves his coffee beans perfectly clean of any remaining fruit, alcohol and sugars. After soaking, the coffee beans are gently dried on raised beds increasing the tactile sensation and therefore creating a supremely balanced coffee.
In 2010, they added a Probat double sample roaster and grinder to the operation. This allows farmers an opportunity to cup their coffees and increases their understanding of remarks about their coffee. Starting in 2012, with support from our exporter partners, Mordecofe began experimenting with new heirloom varieties over a 100 hectare area to identify plants with superior cup quality and good yields. Due to the high premiums paid in 2011, Mordecofe invested in building a second washing station on the farm.
In 2013, Haile Gebre and Stumptown teamed up to arrange a method to track cherry selection more closely. This collaboration opened the possibilities of interesting flavor combinations by selecting from various plots on the farm. Haile still develops his nursery with new plant material which enables him to continue the proper renovation that’s so vital to Ethiopia’s genetic coffee history.